What do you do when people have negative ADHD comments? We have all heard them.
- “ADHD isn’t real”
- “those kids just need more/better discipline”
- “we don’t believe in labels”
The list could go on! Sometimes it could even be a spouse who doesn’t feel their child could have ADHD. What do you do? How should you handle those individuals?
I asked my ADHD son one day what he would say to someone who doesn’t believe in ADHD. Without a pause he said, “I would tell them to hang out with me for a day with out my medication!”
First you need to decide if that person will be a part of your child’s life. There are many acquaintances that will make negative comments. If these people are not in your child’s life, they are not worth the energy it takes to explain. Don’t count on those people to be your support and encouragement when it comes to your ADHD kid! You learn rather quickly what settings or company you can talk freely in.
Family and Close Friends
When the individuals relationship affects the child, it is important that everyone is “on board” or at least willing to put their opinions aside for the sake of the child. Remember that you likely have had more time to process and learn than they have. Be gentle with those around you as they come to accept your child for who they are. Take a deep breath and try not to become defensive.
Start with where they are at and relate to them. “I struggled with finding out he/she had ADHD as well”, “I didn’t think ADHD was real until I noticed these behaviors with him/her”. Allow them time to process and understand the best that they can.
Generational differences can play a factor in their understanding. You will find some who are willing to try to learn and some who are stuck on their view. It really is not our job to change their view. We can present information and resources but they have to believe it on their own.
What if they refuse to believe ADHD?
If they are a family member and have a relationship with your child, I hope they can put their differences aside for the sake of the child. They do not have to believe it to be supportive of you as a parent and encouraging to your child.
There may be boundaries that need to be set in place with some family members. These can be extremely difficult conversations to have but remember that you are doing it for the well being of your child. Talk to the individual and request ADHD topics not be discussed around the child. Let them know their relationship is important to you and your child and you as their parent are doing what you feel is best. There may be firmer boundaries needed if the loved ones struggle with your guidelines.
As I have been reading a little to write this piece I have become angered! It is unbelievable how many people in this world, that pushes for acceptances of everyone, believe ADHD is made up. “There is no blood test for it” they say. Well is there a blood test for anxiety? Depression? Migraines? “There is so much more ADHD being diagnosed than back in the day”. Yes there is. As well as more cancer, more depression, and other diseases you weren’t even aware of back in the day! How many of those kids “back in the day” grew up feeling isolated and misunderstood and now have depression and RSD (Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria)?
Why does our society have to point fingers and blame the parents? I for one am grateful that some in our society are taking this serious and giving our kids and adults the help they need and deserve. They are not bad, they are often misunderstood. Their brain wiring is different. There is no cure or quick fix. It is a lifetime of learning, finding their strengths and working 100 x’s harder than others to get the same results.
Find Your People
I hear story upon story of some of your battles with the non acceptance of your ADHD kids. For some of you it is from teachers and doctors, and for some of you its grandparents and aunts and uncles. In some cases it is heart wrenching and I want you to know we may not be your true family but we are your ADHD family. Find your people who can understand and support you. There are some great Facebook and Instagram ADHD pages where you can find encouragement and information.(@adhdcoachlaureen for FB @familyadhdcoach for IG).
I know, I am living in a fantasy thinking we all can accept each other for who we are and love one another. I for one will not stop trying. This is why I do what I do. To teach, create awareness and support all of you who feel alone. Please reach out to me if you are struggling!
For the mom who needs some encouragement. Here is a blog post for you.
From my Family to yours,
ADHD Coach Laureen